Movistar’s Nairo Quintana grabbed history by the proverbial spokes by becoming the first Colombian to conquer the mass of talented cyclists at Giro d’Italia. This victory shed a bright pink light at the Latin American country, helping fellow countrymen forget about Colombia’s recent political turmoil. With enough espionage and scandal to make James Bond blush, Colombians took their minds off their troubles and hit the streets to cheer on their beloved son.
But, it wasn’t an easy win. Confusion and uncertainty clouded the summit of Stelvio. Riders were told to refrain from attacking, unfortunately, several racers pointed more fingers than the Obamacare website administrators during that historic debacle. Through the strife and cold, Quintana gained four minutes on his fellow countryman Rigoberto Uran. His climb during that stage symbolised his shooting star status in the world of cycling. And by the final week, there was little doubt that Nairo Quintana’s time had come.
The race was action-packed and cleared the way for interesting story-lines at next month’s Tour de France, for example, Quintana will not participate despite coming in second place at last year’s cycling Super Bowl. There were lessons to be learned at Giro d’Italia and Quintana was a sponge soaking in all he could handle.
“In this Giro I’ve learned to overcome adversity and to manage a team over three weeks, to be a leader,” he said.
Canada’s Svein Tuft and Lars Bak from Denmark broke away from the pack during the final stage, but Slovenian Luka Mezgec ambushed the stage by sprinting past Italian Giacomo Nizzolo and U.S. favorite Tyler Farrar adding extra intrigue to the end of the race. Nizzolo looked to have the final stage in hand, but stamina was the key, and Mezgec’s will would not let him miss his date with destiny.